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Marlins Return Home Damp, But Delighted


              BOSTON -- Rain became an ally for the Marlins, who escaped Boston with a 2-1 victory that was called in the sixth.

             Some final thoughts from a road trip in which the Marlins went 4-2, advanced into third place, and went from eight games out in the NL East to five behind Philadelphia:

             -- Ricky Nolasco looked the best he has all season, especially on Thursday when he all but shut down the Red Sox. Kevin Youkilis touched him for a home run, but the only other Boston baserunner reached on Emilio Bonifacio's dropped pop. Nolasco pitched a total of 11 innings on the trip, allowing two runs on six hits. He struck out 14 and walked just one. Nolasco's return to form would be huge for the Marlins.

            -- Chris Coghlan has exceeded expectations in the leadoff position. Coghlan reached base in 15 of his 28 at bats on the road trip for a .536 on-base percentage. Overall, Coghlan's .429 on-base percentage in the leadoff position is the best among all major league players with at least 75 plate appearances in the No. 1 spot.

            -- The bullpen should be well-rested for the Yankees series. It wasn't used at all on Thursday, only Burke Badenhop entered on Wednesday, and Matt Lindstrom and Dan Meyer were not used at all in the Red Sox series. Plus, Renyel Pinto will be rejoining the club on Friday.

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